The Ministry of Health has restricted DNA paternity testing to only two laboratories in the country: the government analytical Laboratory and the MBN clinical laboratory, all based in Kampala.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, made the remarks while addressing the media on DNA testing in the country at the Ministry of Health headquarters on Monday, July 10, 2023.
The decision comes after the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, directed the responsible authorities to regulate the DNA paternity testing laboratories after families across the country sought to determine biological parentage through DNA analysis.
According to Aceng, the move by the government aims to regulate the paternity DNA testing process, ensuring accuracy, reliability, and standardisation in the results obtained.
She said that as part of regulating, no laboratories in any facility shall ship any samples for DNA paternity tests outside the country except with special clearance.
“No laboratory or facility shall ship ant samples for DNA paternity testing outside the country except with special clearance from the director general of health services and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology,” she said.
Aceng further said that any laboratory that is prepared and wants to carry out DNA paternity testing can apply to the director general, who will set up a team of experts to assess the laboratory, its equipment, and personnel for certification.
However, according to Aceng, the government has instructed the Department of National Health Laboratory to work with the National Drug Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority to ensure that fake rapid DNA testing kits are barred from the country.
In addition, the Ministry of Health is working on establishing a price index for paternity DNA testing. The index will help standardise the cost of the service across the country, ensuring accessibility for everyone seeking to utilize this important tool for determining biological relationships.